Begich to Obama: Don’t Boycott 2014 Olympics
Alaskan Athletes Deserve a Chance to Compete
Calling the proposal a political gesture that would only further strain relations, U.S. Senator Mark Begich today urged President Obama to reject calls to boycott the 2014 Russian Olympics and to instead employ every diplomatic means possible to improve relations between the U.S. and Russia.
Begich’s letter was in response to a suggestion from his congressional colleagues to boycott the 2104 Olympics in Sochi, Russia because of concerns over Edward Snowden’s request for temporary asylum.
In his letter, Begich cited concerns for Alaskan competitors and noted that many Alaskans are world-class athletes and Olympians: including snowboarder Callan Chythlook Sifsof, Nordic skiers Kikkan Randall, James Southam and Holly Brooks, hockey player Kerry Weiland, and biathloners Jeremy Teela and Jay Hakkinen.
“Mr. President, I strongly support your efforts to stand up to Russia, but please do not sacrifice the dedication of America's Olympic athletes and the international mutual understanding that derive from the Olympic Games,” said Begich.